NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

BUY TICKETS

Robert Hight wins Funny Car in Sonoma; surpasses Joe Amato’s win record

The Auto Club Funny Car driver defeats Matt Hagan, finds the consistency his team has been chasing and heads into Pomona with a new velocity.
25 Jul 2021
David Kennedy
Race coverage
Robert Hight wins Funny Car in Sonoma; surpasses Joe Amato’s win record

“I never thought I’d ever get a chance to drive one of these cars,” said Robert Hight. “John Force gave me a chance, and 26 years later I’m leaving Sonoma with a Funny Car Wally.”

Hight’s humbleness comes from acknowledging the struggle he and his team have faced in 2021. With a win in Houston and runner-ups in Gainesville and Epping, 2021 has not been the type of season Robert Hight and Jimmy Prock are capable of. So what’s changed?

 

“We’ve had some success,” said Hight, “but this is the first race we’ve had consistency. I think Jimmy Prock has stumbled into some good new things.” Things the competition had no successful counter-offensive to offset.

As Hight told it, “We matched up against Steven Densham first round today. His dad is the person I took over driving for back when I started. Then after that, I raced three [Funny Car] world champions [ J.R. Todd, Ron Capps, and Matt Hagan] in a row. Once you win a race you gain confidence and momentum, but I had a hard time winning races here in Sonoma for a long time. Then in 2018, they seemed to figure out the secret to winning in Sonoma. 

Where does this rank amongst his last two wins here? “It’s right up there,” said Hight, “because this was an important race for points for the Auto Club team. I’ve had years where we started out on fire, and then go flat. I’ve had years where we couldn’t get started, and they came on strong at the end of the year. During my last championship year, we were strong all year.

“We want to go into the Countdown number one and I don’t see that as an issue now. We head to Auto Club Raceway next weekend [in Pomona]. It’s going to be a bit different [than the February Winternationals], hopefully, we go in there and take this good momentum.”

In a sport of speed, momentum is critical. And as with any acceleration effort, input from anything and everything adds to the system—even when it comes from outside your organization.

“Billy Torrence sent me a text today,” said Hight. “He said, ‘we are going to have a three-for. I’m gonna win, your gonna win, and Steve’s gonna win.’ Though standard messaging rates may apply, we’d suggest Hight keeps that text chain alive through the rest of the regular season.